Nam is gone and can't issue his 2014 bold predictions, so the CGB crew gathered together and came up with their own. Add your own in the comments!
Avinash Kunnath: Jared Goff will have decreased passing yards but should have a slight increase in his stellar passing efficiency. The Bear Raid will return to balance this year as Cal forms a three to four running back rotation that will provide more stability in the rushing attack. Jared Goff won't have to average what feels like 50 throws a game in conference play as the Bears are able to start running the football with greater effectiveness than they have in past seasons.
Nick Kranz: Cal will lead all power conference* teams in scoring offense
*I'm ignoring the possibility that some random, Marshall-esque team blitzes through the Sun Belt in an irrelevant campaign.
Last year, Cal's offense was 11th in the nation in scoring, 7th amongst power conference teams. Granted, those numbers are influenced by Cal's pace of play and the fact that Cal's porous defense required the offense to keep scoring. But those factors likely won't be much different in 2015. The Cal offense will be called upon early and often to put up crazy points to win games.
If the offense takes another step developmentally, I think they will pass up Georgia and Michigan State without too much trouble. Pushing past offenses like Oregon, Ohio State, Baylor, and TCU will be tough, but Oregon and Baylor are losing starting quarterbacks, and Ohio State won't need to score so much because of their defense. Plus, the Pac-12 graduated a ton of defensive talent last year, and I fully expect teams like Stanford and Washington to take major steps back on that side of the ball.
True, maybe it's unlikely that the Bears will come in first place. But we're being bold right now, so it's time to climb on that limb.
boomtho: I'll give you a few. First, Jared Goff will throw the ball fewer than 450 times after attempting 509 passes last year - that would work out to ~5 fewer passes per game. Our defense should be much improved, our run game hopefully a little so, and that should reduce the burden on Goff's ridiculously talented shoulders.
Second, our top two RB's (by scoring) will combine for 20 TD's. That figure was 16 last year, but I expect our short yardage running to be improved, which would in theory give Lasco & RB#2 a good shot at hitting this mark.
Last, Cal will record at least 20 sacks after only 16 last year. Pretty please?
Nik Jam: For Cal, the defense will take a huge step forward.
The defense will be in its second year with the same defensive coordinator, Art Kaufman, who is a proven winner. This alone should result in an improvement. There wasn't that many losses on that side of the ball despite Brennan Scarlett and Avery Sebastian opted to play their fifth seasons elsewhere. The big question is whether Stefan McClure will stay healthy and I think he will. I expect big things from Griffin Piatt and Darius White on the defensive backfront as well. The defensive line are all seniors this year, and I expect Mustafa Jalil to have a big enough year to get NFL scouts interested.
How good will this team be with an average defense and a great offense? Well... maybe not good enough.
Leland Wong: Do I lose boldness if my answer piggybacks off Nik's answer? Because I've been wanting to write about Piatt, but curse that pesky real life for getting in the way of CGB world. If that's the case, I'm going to up my boldicity (and embarrass myself) by getting quantitative. Piatt will lead the Bears in interceptions with 5. For reference, that would have been second in the Pac-12 last year, which makes me immediately regret putting it out there. This is a bit of a cop-out because Piatt led the Bears in picks last year despite only playing in 6 games, but I was so impressed with Piatt's ability to get into a position to steal that ball--rather than a bad throw by a quarterback--that I've got to put my money on him.